Tag Archives: UMAT prep

Motivation: without carrots or sticks

Are you having a hard time motivating yourself to study for the UMAT? The tools we often reach for when we need to get ourselves moving are carrots (rewarding ourselves once a tough job is done) or sticks (depriving ourselves of something we want if we fail to do it). These are “extrinsic rewards”. But such extrinsic rewards and punishments are not as effective as intrinsic ones. Intrinsic rewards come from your own person – you believe that if you do a certain thing, it will make you a better, more knowledgable person.  Here, six ways to find the intrinsic interest in studying for the UMAT:

1. Fine-tune the challenge. 

We’re most motivated to succeed when the task before us is matched to our level of skill: not so easy as to be boring, and not so hard as to be frustrating. Deliberately fashion UMAT drill or exam so that you’re working at the very edge of your abilities, and keep upping the difficulty as you improve.

2. Start with the question, not the answer. 

Reaching a known answer is boring. Discovering the solution to a question/puzzle is invigorating. Approach the UMAT not as a story to which you already know the ending, but as a live question begging to be explored.

3. Beat your personal best. 

The UMAT can sometimes not be interesting in themselves, especially repetitive drills. Generate motivation by competing against yourself in drills: run through the UMAT drill to establish a baseline, then keep track of how much you improve (in speed, in accuracy) each time you do it again.

4. Connect abstract tasks to concrete outcomes. 

Imagine how real people and real situations will be affected by what you do. Picture in vivid terms what would happen if you did the task at hand poorly or not at all, versus what would happen if you did a truly outstanding job.

5. Make it social. 

Put together a UMAT Study Group, or find a partner, with whom you can work together. Divide the UMAT into parts, and take turns coaching and motivating each other. Being coached will help you improve, as will being the coach: research shows that the teacher often improves as much or more than the student, because the teacher must pay close attention to how a task is being performed and point out how it can be done better.

6. Go deep. 

The UMAT is interesting once you get inside it. Assign yourself the task of becoming the world’s expert on one aspect of the work you’re doing—its history, its current state of development, its controversies and debates. Then extend your new expertise outward by exploring how the piece you know so well connects to all the other pieces involved in getting the job done.

By discovering the intrinsic interest in the UMAT, you’ll find yourself motivated to finish it for its own sake — without a carrot or a stick in sight.

While you’re waiting for your UMAT scores, get back to real life

For the few weeks before the test, if not longer, you’ve been preoccupied with the UMAT. Maybe you’ve let a few things slide: homework, co-curricular activities, your friends, fun. Now it’s time to catch up on anything that’s fallen behind and to return to your normal routine after the UMAT.

We know you may be feeling a little anti-climactic after getting all geared up for the UMAT that’s now over, but don’t forget other tests that may be looming on the horizon. You’ve worked hard preparing for the UMAT and it’s natural to want to relax a bit. But please, please don’t blow off your Year 12 exams; they are just as important to your admissions chances as the UMAT.

Staying in control during the UMAT

Below are a few useful tips as to how to stay in control during the UMAT.

Distractions:

  • One of the things you’ll probably have to deal with during the UMAT is distractions. This may be someone sniffling, or coughing, or tapping a pencil. In fact there have even been stories of distractions ranging from pile drivers at a nearby construction site to the school’s symphonic band practicing outside!
  • The most important thing is to not let these distractions get to you, use them as a reminder to get back to the UMAT in front of you.

Keep moving while the clock is ticking:

  • Don’t count on the supervisor being accurate or consistent about writing up the time remaining during the UMAT. You should monitor your time continually as you work through the UMAT exam.
  • To avoid time warps and spacing out during the UMAT, keep your pencil moving every few seconds, marking up your UMAT test booklet. Don’t ever let you pencil lift more than a few centimetres off the page – keep it poised to mark up questions.
  • Try not to spend forever filling in the bubbles on the UMAT answer sheet. It’s not uncommon to see a student in the exam room artistically darkening a bubble for 10-15 seconds. That is a total of 3 minutes wasted on the entire UMAT!
  • Use absolutely every second available during the UMAT to work on the questions. Don’t stop until the supervisor says stop!

 

10 Tips For During The UMAT

You have rehearsed for this day for the past few months, so here are a few final tips that you have no doubt heard before. We want to make sure that you have as smooth a UMAT experience as possible.

Please share this article with your friends or family if you think they need some final tips as well.

1. Read and Think carefully.

Consider all the choices in each question on the UMAT. Don’t lose points on easy UMAT questions through careless mistakes.

2. Use your UMAT test booklet.

Your UMAT answer sheet must be kept neat and free of stray marks, but you can mark up your UMAT test booklet. You can write whatever you want, wherever you want on it. However, you will not receive credit for anything written in the booklet. Below are some tips as to how to use your UMAT test booket:

  • Mark each question that you don’t answer on the UMAT so that you can easily find it again
  • Draw a line through each choice as you eliminate it when working on a question on the UMAT
  • Mark important sections, sentences or words in the stimulus.
  • Make drawings to help you figure out word problems
  • Mark key information on the graphs
  • Add information to drawings and diagrams on the UMAT as you work on them

3. Check your answer sheet regularly to make sure you are in the right place.

Losing your place on the UMAT answer sheet will affect your test results. Check that the number of the UMAT question and the number on the answer sheet matches every few questions. This is especially important when you skip a question on the UMAT.

4. Work at an even, steady pace, but keep moving.

Don’t spend too much time working through hard questions on the UMAT that you lose time to find and answer the easier questions on the UMAT. Try to work on less time-consuming questions before moving on to those that require more time. you can also save time on the UMAT by marking questions as you work on them and crossing out choices as you move through the UMAT.

5. Keep track of time during the UMAT.

You have a total of 3 hours to complete the UMAT. Develop a habit of occasionally checking your progress through the UMAT. That way, you know when you are a quarter of the way through the time allotted, when you are half-way through the UMAT and when you only have 5 minutes left. If you have any time left over on the UMAT, use it to check your answers.

6. Know which questions on the UMAT are best for you.

After practicing the different kinds of questions on the drills and practice UMAT exams, you will probably know which type of questions you are most comfortable with. Some questions, you will find, will take you longer than others. It may help to begin with the type of questions you feel most comfortable with, rather than the very beginning of the booklet.

If you do adopt this tip, just be sure to mark in your UMAT test booklet which question you skipped so you can return to it.

7. Answer the easy questions on the UMAT first

Once you know where the easy and hard questions are on the UMAT, answer the easy questions before tackling the more time-consuming questions on the UMAT.

8. Think positively on the UMAT

Getting down on yourself during the UMAT does more than make you feel bad. It is taking away the confidence and support your body needs to solve problems. It can even distract  you. Try to keep your confidence up, and focus on each question on the UMAT.

The UMAT aims to display what you know and can do. If you have prepared, you should feel good about yourself and your capabilities!

9. Stay focused on the UMAT

Ignore distractions during the UMAT. Think only of the question in front of you. If you catch yourself daydreaming, bring your focus back to the UMAT.

10. Never give up on the UMAT.

Don’t listen to the little voice in your ear that says “The UMAT is impossibly hard”. Keep going no matter what.

 

Final UMAT tips: The Morning of the UMAT

Here are some useful tips for you the morning of the UMAT:

  • When you wake up on the day of the UMAT, consider taking a shower or doing some brief exercise to get the blood flowing.
  • If your parent, guardian, friend or relative is taking you to the UMAT, make sure they are up too.
  • Eat a normal breakfast on the morning of the UMAT, by that we mean eat whatever you eat normally for breakfast. You don’t want to eat too much, or something that you don’t normally eat as it may upset your stomach or cause you to be groggy.
  • Caffeine should only be consumed on the day of the UMAT if it is in your normal routine to do so.
  • Before you leave for the UMAT, make sure you have everything you need with you. (Perhaps even have the bag packed the night before hand)
  • Allow enough time to get to the UMAT test site 30 – 40 minutes before the recommended time. This allows for traffic delays, and to get in a good position to enter into the exam room. (Remember, there are thousands of students getting to the UMAT test site, traffic is probably not going to be very smooth)
  • It may even be helpful to listen to some music in the car trip before arriving at the UMAT test site. If you listen to music that makes you feel good, you will be in a better position to solve the Understanding People questions on the UMAT. (Imagine if you were angry, it is likely that you would think others are also feeling angry, like you.)
  • When lining up with other candidates at the UMAT test site, exchange of general conversation may be useful, but try not to talk too much about the UMAT itself.

We hope these tips will help you in keeping calm, focused and relaxed for the UMAT. Ultimately, just remember, you have prepared for this, and the UMAT will allow you to showcase those skills you have practiced.

UMAT Books

Have you ever thought about  using books to prepare for the UMAT?

 

Before you go and spend your money on UMAT books there are a few things worth considering:

 

  • Unlike online materials which can be regularly updated, the publisher of such books is unable to amend them in keeping with the frequent changes that do occur in the UMAT.
  • There is no way of seeing other reader reviews of such publications, so how will you know what your peers think of them?
  • Is the author well versed in all facets of the UMAT and how much experience do they have?
  • How long has the author been involved in the UMAT in some way
  • You should be able to have confidence in the quality of these UMAT books in order to prepare for the UMAT. For example, are the sample questions of a similar difficulty – if they are not, then you will not be adequately prepared.
  • Whilst you will be able to physically write on the books as in the actual exam, there is a limit to how many times you can erase and reuse.

 

Online materials – such as those of MedEntry – have the advantage over UMAT books, in that they can be updated regularly, are written and managed by experienced staff, and are able to better replicate the UMAT.

UMAT stress – friend or foe?

 

How do I get rid of test stress?

 

While familiarity with test content is undoubtedly helpful, sometimes just doing practise exams is not going to make the stress go away. Some common causes of test stress include: anxiety, lack of confidence, being distracted and pressure to do well.

 

The truth is you are going to be stressed on the day of the UMAT, but that is not all bad news. A little bit of stress can actually be beneficial to your performance.

 

Consider the Yerkes-Dodson Curve:

We perform best when there is a moderate amount of stress placed on us. It allows us to think rationally, and actually enjoy what we are doing. On either side of that we have under-stimulation and over-stimulation, where negative emotions and general dissatisfaction take over. Don’t think of the UMAT as a draining experience, after all, it is part of the journey to achieving your dream career.

Whilst this “optimum performance zone” may be different for everyone, we all have one and it is through practise and developing certain test tactics that allows you to find the zone where you are both calm and alert.

Knowing vs Performing:

Knowing and performing is not the same thing. “Knowing” is how well you understand the content. “Performing” is what you do with what you know. No doubt by the time you do the UMAT, you will know a lot of skills. But the real question that remains is how well you perform – that is, how well you utilise what you know.

Keeping Calm:

Your performance on the day hangs significantly on how your mindset is.

You can be the nervous person who only thinks about failing or you can approach each question on the UMAT calmly. Don’t let external factors you can’t control affect you – the ticking clock, questions presented to you on the page, the weather, etc. Stress is caused by an individual’s interpretation of the events around them. In other words, you create the stress for yourself.

A good question to ask yourself is: “what am I doing to myself that is making me feel so stressed out?” . This is the first step to recognising that you are causing yourself stress so you can identify the factors and fix them.

Common stress reactions:

Knowing what some common stress reactions are can help you identify how you react to stressful situations, like the UMAT.

  • Physically tense
  • Thinking negative thoughts
  • Being continually distracted

When you are physically tense, your body is agitated so you can’t think clearly.

Negative thinking can be the killer to the confidence boost that you need during demanding times like the UMAT. When you say you are not good enough, you are not supporting yourself. During the UMAT, your mind needs encouraging messages, rather than messages of failure. When you think negative thoughts – it is like giving up on yourself! In fact, these negative messages can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That is, if you think you are not going to do well and you keep insisting on it question after question, you probably are not going to do well on the UMAT!

Don’t let yourself let you down. 

When you get distracted during the UMAT, your mind cannot properly focus on the questions. This is decreasing your level of performance.

What now?

There is still time to mentally prepare yourself so you can get into that “optimal zone” where are you are alert and calm during the UMAT. When doing practise exams, try to sit in a way that relaxes your muscles so you are not physically tense. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, give yourself some encouragement. It does not have to be “bring it on! I am so good at this”. They can just be little things like, “I’ve done this before, so I know the method.” Finally, stay focused. Ignore other things happening in the room. Rather than worry about time ticking away, or other questions, just focus on the question you are working right now.

A final word:

Remember, stress is going to be there during the UMAT no matter what, but if you remember to keep calm, focused and confident. You can at least make your UMAT experience a good one.